Snowmachines (what most Alaskans call their winter ride of choice) can take you places during winter that only helicopters and airplanes can get to any other time of year. Places that many people have no idea even exist. From the very townsite of Valdez a rider can access endless terrain within minutes of leaving town. Directly from town, the Valdez Parks & Recreation Department maintain an extensive winter trail system for multi use purposes. Other nearby backcountry riding opportunities include the intermittently groomed trail access to Hogsback glacier, and riding the pipeline access road to Solomon Lake. Thompson pass, with its mountainsides, meadows, and wide open playground, is approximately 30 minutes from downtown Valdez. This recreation area is above treeline, wide open, and ungroomed. Its proximity to the Richardson Highway and its varied terrain makes this area a popular destination for riders of all abilities.